Journal: HIV Med. 2011 Sep;12(8):472-80.
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BACKGROUND: Existing tools for rapid cognitive assessment in HIV-positive individuals with mild cognitive deficits lack sensitivity or do not meet psychometric requirements for tracking changes in cognitive ability over time.
METHODS: Seventy-five nondemented HIV-positive patients were evaluated with the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), a brief battery of standardized neuropsychological tests, and computerized tasks evaluating frontal-executive function and processing speed. Rasch analyses were applied to the MoCA data set and subsequently to the full set of data from all tests.
RESULTS: The MoCA was found to adequately measure cognitive ability as a single, global construct in this HIV-positive cohort, although it showed poorer precision for measuring patients of higher ability. Combining the additional tests with the MoCA resulted in a battery with better psychometric properties that also better targeted the range of abilities in this cohort.
CONCLUSION: This application of modern test development techniques shows a path towards a quick, quantitative, global approach to cognitive assessment with promise both for initial detection and for longitudinal follow-up of cognitive impairment in patients with HIV infection.